Nigeria Police Can’t Account for 88,078 AK-47 Rifles – AuGF

No fewer than 88,078 AK-47 rifles could not be accounted for by the Nigeria Police Force along with thousands of other firearms, according to a report released by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) on Tuesday.

In a country struggling with insecurity from Islamist insurgents in the northeast and armed kidnappings and banditry in the north and northwest, missing firearms raise alarm.

As part of his latest report, published on the government’s website and covering the period to December 2019, Auditor General Adolphus Aghughu noted that several weapons were missing and unaccounted for from Nigerian police armouries.

“The total number of lost firearms as reported as at December 2018 stood at 178,459 pieces. Out of this number, 88,078 were AK-47 rifles,” the report said.

It added, “Formal report on the loss of firearms through dully completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) were not presented for examination.

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“Records obtained from force armament at the Force headquarters showed 21 Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron, Abuja did not report a single case of missing firearm, whereas, schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF showed a total number of 46 missing arms between year 2000 and February 2019.

“The value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination. The above anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system at the Nigeria Police Force Armament.

“Several numbers of firearms from the review of Arm Issue Register, monthly returns of arms and ammunition obtained from Force Armament, Force headquarters for various States Commands, Formations, Zonal offices, Training Institutions, squadrons and physical inspection of firearms and ammunition at the Force Headquarters have become unserviceable and dysfunctional.

“Records of the total number of unserviceable firearms were not produced for examinations, and there were no returns from Adamawa State Command, Police Mobile Force (PMF) 46, 56, 64 and 68 for the period under review.

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“Similarly, returns were not submitted by some Police Training Institutions and some Formations, and Physical verification of firearms and ammunition at the Force Armament, Force Headquarters showed large quantity of damaged and obsolete firearms which needed to be destroyed.

“The damaged and obsolete firearms and ammunition should be treated in line with Financial Regulations 2618 which requires the destruction to be carried out in such a manner as to render the firearms unusable for their original purpose.”

It did not specify whether the figures were for 2018 alone or over a period up to that time. There was a risk that firearms could get into the wrong hands or be used for illegal activities, said the report.

The auditor general’s report is before a joint public accounts committee of Senate and Lower House, which will scrutinise it, invite the police to respond and give recommendations.

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The constitution empowers the auditor general to conduct audit checks on all government departments.

SBM Intelligence said in a report in October 2020 that the proliferation of small arms and ammunitions was driving the increasing violence in Nigeria, with civilian non-state actors believed to possess more small arms than law enforcement agents.

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